Sunday, January 11, 2009

If I had lots of money

Looking through the Robert Edward Auctions 2007 catalog, I decided to play a bit of a game. If I had some money to spend, what would I bid on?

I decided to set a few price points. I based them on Reserve Prices. My understanding is that the Reserve Price is the minimum that the current owner will accept for the item. It is generally understood that it is only a guide for what the auction house and consignor guess (hope) it will sell for.

I know nothing about high-end auctions. I've been reading about record sale prices, so I made the assumption that Reserve Prices would be rather high, so I set my price breaks at:
* $1,000 or less
* up to $10,000
* over $10,000

Little did I know that there isn't much in the 2007 catalog that the Reserve Price is over $10,000. A few, but not many.

After looking through the lots, I reset my breaks at below $1,000 and over $1,000.

What would I select? I thought I'd go with something that pleased me. Did I like it? Was it appealing to my eye? I think I avoided some of the lots because I thought that they were trendy. Things like T206s. Mantle rookies. Anything modern (read: Jeter items).

Low Reserve Price Lots :
1888 N28 Allen & Ginter Hall of Fame PSA-Graded Collection (3)
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $3,818.75

1888 "Scrapps" Collection Including 3 HOFers (7)
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $2,115.00

Circa 1888 R.T.S. Artistic Series Baseball Complete Set (10)
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $822.50

1888-1970 Unusual Baseball Card "Shoe box" Collection (214)
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $5,581.25

Cartwright Family Genealogy Archives (1,000+ Documents)
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $1,410.00

High Reserve Price Lots:
1911 T3 Turkey Red PSA-Graded Hall of Famers Collection (13)
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $12,925.00

1911 T3 Turkey Red PSA-Graded Hall of Famers Collection (7)
Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $26,437.50

1941 Play Ball Complete Set: #7 PSA Registry (72)
Starting Bid - $10,000.00, Sold For - $21,150.00

Notes about two other Lots:
T206 Mad Magazine Alfred E. Newman
Starting Bid - $50.00, Sold For - $1,292.50

Could this be an error card? The Mad Magazine's mascot's actual last name is Neuman. Or it could just be a joke on us all.

1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth Rookie Card
Starting Bid - $10,000.00, Sold For - $199,750.00

I read the description for the Ruth Rookie Card and I had to laugh. REA catalog descriptions are a delight to read. How many ways can one say, "A fine example of a rare card. Corners are sharp, with only the slightest surface wear. Offset by about 10 %, but a better example can't be found." Or something similar. They drop in a reference to Monty Python here, a bit of lyrical whimsy there.

But after reading this description, I started thinking about it (semi) literally.
Presented is a newly discovered example, only the tenth example known to exist in the universe, of the card many consider to be the single most important and miraculous baseball card in the world: the 1914 Babe Ruth rookie card.
Mark's addition to the catalog...

Important Press Release from REA

Watchung, New Jersey. - REA announced today that they have just found another copy of the Babe Ruth rookie card on the planet formerly known as Pluto. This brings the known examples in the universe to eleven. It was hidden under a rock, just beneath a signed letter from Abner Doubleday stating that the whole 'Inventor of Baseball' story was just a practical joke. Astronauts from the space craft Wagner brought the news to a hopeful staff.

REA verified that the card is still miraculous. Having been transported back to Earth (where it is still very important) it was said to have healed four young crippled girls and a man blind since birth. The girls left their crutches at the shrine to the card based in the Bronx, in the shadow of both of the Yankee stadia. The healed blind man was able to avoid the crutches, but turned to the new stadium and muttered words that are not fit to print.

The Yankees are rumored to be considering purchasing the card, but anonymous sources inside the organization say that they would have to cancel the contract of William Nusbaum, a promising popcorn and peanut vendor, to pay for it. Nusbaum's contract is rumored to be in the $18M for 3 years. That includes a $3M signing bonus. Nusbaum's agent is working to secure a "no hot dog" clause, allowing the vendor, who is a vegan, to stay true to his convictions. Nusbaum is a right hander, having worked at Shea Stadium and also in the minors, mostly the independent leagues.

Should the Yankee deal not come to fruition, REA management expects that the card will be presented for auction in the near future. Further explorations will continue in joint missions between REA and NASA.

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